Thursday, May 19, 2016

Minion Tote Bag

Aunties teach their nephews all kinds of whimsical things.  Things like what squid, giraffes and hippos say.  Things that make nephews giggle with delight when they see her.  It is only fitting that my next project out of 1, 2, 3 Sew be a useful whimsical item for Auntie's Christmas present.  (I'm skipping the quilted place mats project for now because those are for me and there is no impending Dec 24 deadline.)  

Auntie loves minions (I'll let her introduce them to the boys someday) so when I found this small scale blue minon fabric I knew that I had a winner.  I was worried when picking out the lining blue that it wouldn't quite work, but I think the overall effect is really nice.

Like with the craft tote, this project required cutting out from pattern pieces and cutting along the fold.  With the minion quilting cotton and canvas lining I wasn't concerned, but the burlap fabric moves so much that I'm nervous about handling it straight.  I'm also not too sure why this book gives you pattern pieces for things that are rectangular.  In the craft caddy there was one rectangle pattern piece and then multiple rectangles to cut that were just listed in the book.  Seems inconsistent to me!

Even though I wasn't going to sew the pieces together for a few days, I made sure to do the zigzag stitch around the burlap immediately.  I wanted to makes sure that it didn't unravel!

Unlike the craft caddy, this feels like it will be relatively simple to construct.  Just a few seams and learning how to do boxed corners.  How hard could this be?

The minion + burlap fabric is the same size as the lining fabric.  This is step 1 for things to lay correctly! I was nervous about the burlap pressing well but it pressed neatly with my iron's cotton setting.

Pressing the seams open on the put together outer and inner bags was harder than I thought. For the handles it was easy, drape them around the pointy end of my ironing board and iron.  However, how do you press around a corner?  It took a while for me to figure out that I should lay the bag flat, press down one side of the seam and then press down the second side of the seam.  I started with the outer bag which was frustrating since the burlap bottom seam isn't even so it was hard to press open. Pressing the canvas lining was much easier and if I had started with that I think I would have felt more confident.

Since the seam allowance wasn't pressed the best, I was nervous how the squared corners would go.  I started with the canvas bag this time instead of starting with the burlap.  I measured 2" down from the corner and then used my graded ruler (lining up a line with the seam) to make sure that my squaring would be perfectly perpendicular. 

I did the overcasting stitch before clipping the corners.  I guess you're supposed to clip and then do an overcast stitch, but I felt more confident doing the reverse since the burlap isn't very rigid.

I was worried that pressing the outside of the bag handle would be difficult, but it pressed really easily around the curve.  I'm super happy!  I didn't have to cut any notches or anything.  (I might have to cut some around the inside curve, but that will be after the stitching.)

I loved the bag as soon as I turned the right sides out, and it isn't even finished yet!   I thought about waiting to press until I was 100% done with the sewing, but realized that the way that the inside handles are pressed could alter how to stitch up the outside.

The handles lined up much better than I thought.  You would almost never know that I had to press them in advance of the sewing.

I didn't like the edge stitching around the outside of the handles but not also the inside, so I added some to the insides, too.

Closeup when done as written
Extra Stitching - you can barely tell that it is there but it looks great!  
The finished bag!
I'm really REALLY proud of how this bag came out.  It is simple looking but still has the whimsy I was hoping for. From a distance it just looks like a polkadot bag, only when you get closer do you see the minions.  (I would have still made the bag if the minion print were larger scale, but I think this is a cute result nevertheless.)

Project started 11.5.2015